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Metal-Semiconductor Junctions

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SMA5111 - Compound Semiconductors
Lecture 2 - Metal-Semiconductor Junctions - Outline
•Introduction
Structure - What are we talking about?
Behaviors: Ohmic, rectifying, neither
•Band picture in thermal equilibrium (Establishing the baseline)
Ideal junction - no surface states
Real junctions - surface states and Fermi level pinning
•Applying voltage bias (i-v and c-v) (Where it gets interesting, i.e. useful)
Forward bias, current flow
1. General comments; 2. Thermionic emission theory;
3. Drift-diffusion theory; 4. Real junctions
Reverse bias, image-force lowering
Switching dynamics
1. Step response; 2. High frequency response
•Applications (Benefiting from these simple structures)
Ohmic contacts
Doping profiling
Shunt diodes
FET gate (MESFETs)
UV photodiodes
C. G. Fonstad,
2/03 Lecture 2 - Slide 1
Metal-Semiconductor Junctions - the structure
The structure is very simple
but also very interesting, important, and useful
Metal-Semiconductor Junctions - barrier basics
• The evolution of the electrostatic barrier at
the interface
Initially we assume no surface states, i.e. bulk bands
right to surface
• The energy band picture in isolation
An isolated metal and an isolated semiconductor;
neither "sees"
Note: no surface states for
nows ; they come later
The vacuum reference levels are equal.
Both materials are neutral.
Note definitions of О¦ (work function) and П‡ (electron affinity)
Metal-Semiconductor Junctions - barrier basics
в—ЏThe
evolution of the electrostatic barrier at the interface
The short imposes a constant Fermi level throughout
The combination remains neutral, but the two materials
become charged as electrons flow from the semiconductor
to the metal until the Fermi levels are the same
The semiconductor surface is slightly depleted at large
separation; the depletion increases as they approach
Metal-Semiconductor Junctions - barrier basics
• Shorted metal and semiconductor in physical contact
As the distance between the metal and semiconductor
decreases to zero, the depletion region grows
The final depletion region width is that needed to support a
potential change equal to the built-in potential,
О¦b (=О¦m -П‡s)
The total structure is neutral, but there is now a dipole
layer between the metal and semiconductor
To model this we use the depletion approximation
Metal-Semiconductor Junctions - barrier basics
• Depletion approximation
The charge in the metal is approximated as a sheet (impulse)
charge density at the surface, and charge in the semiconductor
is approximated by a fully depleted layer
XD wide:
гЋЎ
Remember we are dealing with sheet charge density, Coul/cгЋЎ
• Depletion approximation (cont)
Integrating the charge divided by the dielectric constant
yields the electric field
•
Depletion approximation (cont)
Integrating the charge divided by the dielectric constant
Requiring thatΦ (x) be continuous at x = 0 we find that the depletion
region width, XD , must be
XD ~ (2gΦb/qND)1/2
The profile is now fully determined.
(i.e., we're done)
Real semiconductor surfaces - surface states
• Surface states
There will be additional energy states on the surface of a
semiconductor because the perfectly periodic lattice
ends at the surface and many bonds are not "satisfied"
These states... can have a very high density
have a narrow distribution of energies within bandgap
• The energy bands in a semiconductor with surface states
The surface states typically are sufficiently dense that in equilibrium
the Fermi level falls within them at the surface and the surface is
Real semiconductor surfaces - surface states,
cont.
• Estimating the number of surface states
Unit cell 5.5A by 5.5A – >> 10(14) cells/c㎡ at surface
4 unsatisfied bonds per cell –>>≈ 10(15) states/c ㎡
If the states fall within 0.1 eV of each other –>>≈ 10(16) states/c ㎡ -eV
This is very large!!
• What does this mean as a practical matter?
Suppose О¦m - П‡s = 0.5 V, and that the effective separation of the m
charge in the surface states and metal is 25nm. The sheet
charge density induced in this situation is:
Q* = e О”V/d = 10(-12) x 0.5 / 2.5 x 10(-6) = 2 x 10(-6) coul/cгЋЎ
The corresponding state density is Q*/q ≈ 10(13) c (-㎡)
If all the surface states are active, the Fermi level at the surface
will change only 1 mV; if only 10% are active it is only 10 mV.
Only if 1%, or less, are active can the surface be unpinned.
• Conclusion
The metal work function is often not the main determinant of the
potential barrier in a metal-semiconductor junction
Metal-Semiconductor Junctions - w. surface
states
• The energy band picture in
isolation with surface states
The surface of the semiconductor is
depleted because of the
charged surface states, independent of
there being any metal
nearby
Note: 0 < f < 1; for many III-V's f ≈ 0.6-0.7
Metal-Semiconductor Junctions - w. surface
states (cont.)
• Shorted metal and semiconductor, with surface states,
in physical contact
When the density of surface states is high, as it typically is,
the potential barrier that develops is dominated by the
location of the surface states in the semiconductor band
gap, rather than by the work function of the metal.
Otherwise, nothing is different and the same modeling holds
Barrier heights
vs.
metal work function
-> the impact of surface states
on metal-semiconductor
barrier heights
See Chap 8, Fig 7 in: Sze, S.M.,Physics of Semiconductor Device
2nd ed. New York, Wiley, 1981.
-> the barrier height
varies much less
See Chap 8, Fig 8 in: Sze, S.M. Physics of Semiconductor Device
2nd ed. New York, Wiley, 1981.
than does the work
function of the metal
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction
• What happens globally
Potential step crossing junction changes
Depletion region width and electric field change
Current flows across junction
• Potential step change
Assuming all the bias appears across the junction,
the potential barrier changes from О¦b to О¦b
О¦b --пѓ О¦b - vAB
Note: Forward bias decreases the barrier
Reverse bias increases the barrier
- vAB
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction,
cont.
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction, cont.
• Depletion region width and field changes
Wherever О¦b appears in the expressions for depletion region width
and electric field, it is replaced by О¦b - vAB :
Depletion region width:
XD вЂ“вЂ“вЂ“пѓ [2Оµ (О¦b - vAB)/ qND](1/2)
Note: The depletion region width decreases in forward bias
Reverse bias increases the depletion region width
Peak electric field:
Epk = [2ОµО¦b qND ] (1/2) /ОµвЂ“вЂ“вЂ“пѓ [2Оµ (О¦b - vAB) qND](1/2)/Оµ
Note: The peak electric field decreases in forward bias
Reverse bias increases the field strength
• Note: potential step and depletion region changes are
the same as happens in a p-n junction
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction,
cont
• Currents
Note: the barrier seen by electrons in the metal does not
change with bias, whereas the barrier seen by those in
the semiconductor does.
Thus the carrier flux (current) we focus on is that of majority
carriers from the semiconductor flowing into the metal.
Metal-semiconductor junctions are primarily majority
carrier devices.
Minority carrier injection into the semiconductor can usually
be neglected; more about this later
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction,
cont.
• Currents, cont.
The net current is the current from the semiconductor to the metal,
minus the current from the metal to the semiconductor:
iD(vAB) = iDm–>s(vAB) - iDs–>m(vAB)
Semiconductor to metal, iDs–>m(vAB)
Four factors:
1. NDn exp [-q(О¦b - vAB)/kT], the number of carriers that can
cross the barrier, (О¦b - vAB)
2. R, the rate at which the carriers that can cross, get across
3. A, the cross-sectional area
4. -q, the charge per carrier
iDs–>m(vAB) = -q A R NDn exp [- q(Φb - vAB)/ kT]
Metal to semiconductor, iDm–>s(vAB)
Not a function of voltage (because barrier seen from metal doesn't change)
Must equal iDs–>m(vAB) when vAB = 0, i.e. iDs–>m(0)
iDm–>s(vAB) = iDs–>m(0) = -q A R NDn exp [-qΦb/kT]
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction,
cont.
• Currents, cont.
Thus, the net current is:
iD(vAB) = q A R NDn exp(-qΦb/kT) [exp(qvAB/kT) - 1]
******
What we haven't done yet is say anything about R (at least not enough)
The modeling meat is in R!
• Barrier transit rate models (models for R)
Different models assume that different factors are limiting the flow,
and they result in different dependences of R (and thus of the iD)on
the device and material parameters and termperature.
Thermionic emission theory - the flow is limited by the rate at which carriers
try to cross the barrier
Drift-diffusion theory - the flux is limited by the rate at which carriers cross
Combination theories
the depletion region and reach the barrier
- both of the above factors play a role and must be
included in the modeling
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction,
cont.
• Image force barrier lowering
An electron leaving a metal sees an image force pulling it back:
We see that the potential step at the surface of a metal is not
abrupt as we have modeled it:
This reduces the barrier seen by the carriers. (next foil)
Applying bias to a metal-semiconductor junction,
cont.
• Image force barrier lowering (cont.)
The image force reduces the barrier:
Furthermore the barrier reduction increases with increasing
reverse bias:
This means the current does not saturate in reverse bias (unlike
the case in a p-n diode).
Comparison of m-s junctions and p-n junctions
Lessons from i-v modeling results:
– Comparing metal to n-Si and p+-Si to n-Si diodes, i.e. same n-sides
• The m-s current is higher at the same bias (m-s barrier is always lower)
iD,m-s(vAB) > iD,p-n(vAB) @ same vAB
• There is no minority carrier injection or storage in
the m-s diode
modulation and switching can be much faster
• The reverse bias, or "off" current of an m-s diode
does not truly saturate
turn-off is not has hard, but we can still
have sharp breakdown and avalanche
The first two differences play major roles in
several applications of m-s diodes
What metal-semiconductor junctions are good
for
Note: The key features that make m-s junctions useful are…
- majority carrier devices, negligible minority carrier injection
- relatively low barrier to forward current flow
- depletion and field extend to surface
Important Applications
• Ohmic contacts
an essential component of any electronic device
• Determining doping profiles
a key diagnostic technique in device fabrication/processing
• Shunt diodes
to reduce switching transients in bipolar transistor logic
• Microwave diodes
another use taking advantage of negligible excess carrier injection
• FET gate (MESFETs)
the subject of Lecture 9
• Ultraviolet detectors
to be discussed in Lecture 21
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